Tuesday, March 30, 2010

VIDEO- Tornado hits Freeport Bahamas

PHOTOS-Freak weather- Tornados hit Freeport Grand Bahama

Monday 29th March 2010
By Lyndah Wells

Freeport, Grand Bahama- Yesterday morning at approximately 11.30, freak weather Tornadoes hit areas of Freeport, Grand Bahama. In my area, Lucaya, the devstation reeked on street imparticular were beyond belief.
Photos show the damage to homes that were destroyed without warning.

4 deaths are confirmed by the Freeport Container Port, of workers who were reapiring a crane at the time the tornado struck.
The Rand Memorial hospital had to be closed off to non emergency incidents after hundreds of friends and family gathered there to find out more information.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Grand Bahama Regatta to 'Catch the Wave'

Submitted by Karen Bain

FREEPORT, Grand Bahama -- The Grand Bahama Regatta Committee is putting the final touches on their upcoming 16th, Annual Regatta under the theme “Catch the Wave,” scheduled for June 17th to 20th, 2010 at Taino Beach.

Co-Chairman Mr. Harold McPhee has invited Administrator Don Cornish in the Office of the Prime Minister to Co-chair this years’ Regatta. Administrator Cornish who is no stranger to the Regatta world served as Chairman of the Abaco Regatta and brings a wealth of experience and new ideas with him.

The Grand Bahama Committee has heard the cries and concerns of the public regarding the lack luster feeling attendees got; the GB Regatta Committee will transform Taino Beach the sites, sounds and aroma will make you feel like you are on a out Island.

The Committee will feature an exhibit to educate the public on Regatta’s and Boat building produced by Committee member Mr. Canard Bethel. The exhibit will move to different locations throughout the Island.

In an effort to further bring awareness to our young people regarding the Regatta, a banner competition has been added to encourage aspiring young Art Students in the Junior and Senior High Schools to create a winning designs with the “Catch the Wave” theme in mind. Cash prizes will also be awarded.
Battle of the Bands pre-fundraising event will be held on Friday 11th, June 2010 at Jack Hayward Gymnasium commencing at 8:00p.m. Local Marching Bands will be invited to compete and a special invitation would be extended to the Farm Road Marching Band to participate. Cash prizes and the Regatta floating trophy will be awarded to the winning Marching Band.

The Grand Bahama Regatta Committee will open with a Worship Service of thanks giving (Church to be announced) on Sunday 13th, June 2010.

The four (4) day Regatta will start with a float parade on Thursday 17th, June 2010 throughout the streets of Freeport commencing in the Parking Lot of the Government Complex ending on Taino Beach. The evening air at Taino Beach will be filled with the melodious voices of the ever popular Grand Bahama Youth Choir under the Direction of Mr. Kevin Tomlinson. The Grand Bahama Youth Choir will perform in a free concert entitle “Sounds of the Islands”.

Friday 18th, June Opening Ceremony and Youth Talent Explosion from 8:00p.m. to 11:00p.m.

Saturday 19th, June “Now Das Bahamian” featuring Deep South Island Boyz, Staleet, K.B, Matrixx Band and Swingers Junkanoo Group. Noon until

Sunday 20th, June Special performances by winners from Battle of the Bands 3:00p.m. Until

The Grand Bahama Committee is encouraging all Bahamians to be come out apart of this years Regatta “Catch The Wave.”

Miss Grand Bahama Candidates to be 'Magically' Unveiled on April 2nd

By Miss Grand Bahama Beauty Pageant Organization

Freeport, Grand Bahama - Miss Grand Bahama Beauty Pageant Organization presents: The 2010 Miss Grand Bahama, Beauty Pageant Contestants Unveiling on April 2nd , 2010 at 8pm .

The Miss Grand Bahama Beauty Organization invites you to the unveiling of The 2010 Miss Grand Bahama Beauty Pageant Contestants at Sabor Restaurant at Pelican Bay at Lucaya. This year's theme is "Magic".

This is a FREE event and open to the public.

In attendance will be: sponsors, press, friends and family, and also our 2009 Miss Grand Bahama Nikie Severe...

The Miss Grand Bahama Beauty Pageant Organization will present to you eight magical mystical, beautiful and intelligent young women to Grand Bahama and The Bahamas
Early this year the Miss Grand Bahama held a screening process to find ideal contestants with intelligence, effective communication skills, appearance, attitude, motivation, team spirit, maturity and confidence.

As a part of being accepted as a contestant for the 2010/2011 Miss Grand Bahama Beauty Pageant, the young ladies had to go through training and work shops in etiquette , make-up , health and fitness , public speaking , presentation and runway technique.

Who will be the next Miss Grand Bahama who will fit the shoes of our reigning queen Ms Nikie Severe? Ms Severe has represented our island and The Bahamas with grace, style, poise, beauty and maturity. At the Miss Friendship International Pageant in China Ms Severe placed in the top 15 - a joyous moment. She also participated in the Miss Coffee International Beauty Pageant.

"It has been a busy year for our Miss Grand Bahama and she attended many functions, but this is what our pageant is all about; getting Miss Grand Bahama out in the community, and letting the public know who Miss Grand Bahama is, " said Glenn Davis, Founder of the Miss Grand Bahama Beauty Pageant Organization. "There are a lot of pageants in our community not giving the winners the exposure that they should be getting, .Our queens should be more involved in community service. That is one of our main objectives with the Miss Grand Bahama Pageant," he concluded.

Our winner will receive a two year scholarship to Terreve College and a month-long, all expense paid trip to China, where she will represent Grand Bahama/ The Bahama in the Miss Friendship International Pageant. Also an all expense paid trip to Colombia to participate in the Miss Coffee International Beauty Pageant.

"The success of this event is credited largely to our sponsors who lend their names and financial support and time to this event. The Miss Grand Bahama Beauty Pageant Organization would like to say thanks a million to all of our sponsors. They are Kayak Nature Tours, Dolphin Experience, Escante Boutique for our shoes; Jewelry from Patrice; Bandolera for the wardrobe for the Miss Friendship International held in China; the designer gown from Pakistan by designer Rizwan Ali, who has supported our organization for 10 years; Bonjour Clothing for the unveiling and opening gowns of the 2010 Miss Grand Bahama Beauty Pageant; Traffic Bahamas; Western Air; Discovery Cruise Line; Old Bahama Bay for hosting the Miss Grand Bahama official photo shoot; Island Seas Resort who will host our Top Model / Talent Competitions; Treasure Bay Casino who will host our Swimsuit/ Evening Gown Competition; Port Lucaya Marketplace who will host our National Costume Judging; Sunrise Resort Marina for sponsoring the 2010 screening process; UNEXSO who provides our official swimsuits; the YMCA and Charmaine McNab for our fitness training (thanks to the director Ms Karon Johnson); The Bahama Weekly who is there at all times for media coverage; Pelican Bay at Lucaya and Sabor Restaurant for holding the 2010 Contestant Unveiling and the Contestant Interviews; Prestige Perfume who donates a basket for our winner; Dr. Percentie; Mognalia; and our official photographer Lashan Ferguson."

May 16, 2010 we put on the main event, the "2010/2011 Miss Grand Bahama Beauty Pageant" at the Hilton Outten Convention Center. Please come out and support these lovely young ladies, of which one will wear the crown and represent her island and country.

The Pre-Show will commence at 8:15pm, with the Main Show and Competition Finals commencing at 9pm.

Freeport cyclists enjoy 50 mile fundraiser ride

Sixteen intrepid cyclists battled headwinds and hangovers in the Freeport Rugby & Football Club's 50 mile bike ride fundraiser.

FREEPORT, Grand Bahama -- Sixteen intrepid cyclists turned out for the Freeport Rugby & Football Club's annual 50-mile bike ride fundraiser on Sunday, March 21st, 2010, many braving not only the windy conditions but hangovers from the Humane Society's Animal House party the night before.

Departing from Taino Beach at 8am the group headed to the Casuarina Bridge where a rest and snack stop had been set up featuring fruit, water, and home-baked cookies. A few of the heroes passed the stop but most enjoyed the break before crossing the bridge and fighting the headwind towards Barbary Beach, passing most of those who had elected to skip the rest stop.

After Barbary it was a push from the tailwind as the group returned to the bridge for more fruit, cookies, and a bathroom break at that lovely rest stop. Again, a few heroes elected to skip the stop and pressed on back towards Barbary again. Now this is not a race, it is meant to be a fun fundraiser pedal-fest, however there are always riders who want to see how fast they can cover the 50 miles.

By now there was only one rider well out in front and another who decided to give chase since the group had adopted a more leisurely pace. The chase took well over 10 miles but eventually the lead fellow was caught and the gal finished first, returning to Taino Beach after covering the 50 miles in 2 hours and 48 minutes. More importantly though, a great time was had by all and funds were raised to continue the many excellent sports programs offered by the Rugby Club.

West End Eco-Fishing Camp Association - Making a difference with the youth

Linda Barry-Cooper demonstrating CPR techniques along with Camper Shylock Edwards, age 14 yrs

WEST END, Grand Bahama – The West End Eco-Fishing Camp Association is pleased to announce that the Ginn West End Foundation is a major sponsor of the 2010 program. Now in its second year the association will be able to provide more equipment, fun activities and nutritious lunch at the end of each session held on Saturdays from 9A to 1P through May 29, 2010.

Comprised of a group of volunteers from the Royal Bahamas Police Force, West End community and friends from Freeport, and 8 Mile Rock they are dedicated to ensure that the camp is well run and the kids engage in learning practical lessons on a variety of ecological and ocean related subjects. Linda Barry-Cooper, Chairman of the camp noted, “With the support of the Ginn West End Foundation the children of West End can now experience camp life right in their neighborhood. One of our future goals is to have the top 10 outstanding campers visit Nassau and one of the Family Islands to learn more about the Bahamas diverse environment and tourism related business opportunities. We are grateful for their contributions and look forward to building on our relationship with Ginn.”

The 13 week camp is filled with a variety of activities – from classes on first aid and boating safety to swimming lessons and fly fishing instruction – there is never a dull moment during the sessions. Some of the camp volunteer instructors include First Responders, BASRA and environmental experts who provide an entry-level understanding of life changing courses for boys and girls ranging from ages 8 to 15.
The West End Eco-Fishing Camp volunteers work along side the Royal Bahamas Police Force who created this community program to provide alternative activities to steer kids away from crime. The running theme of the campers is “Esprit de Corp” or group spirit that encourages a team effort in each of the planned activities. Sergeant Terry Barry from the West End Police Station added, “There is a sense of pride in each child who attends the camp. A high spirited “SIR YES SIR!” cheer is required from the group when responding to specific questions that require an affirmative answer. Discipline, respect and honesty is a must and good behavior is constantly re-enforced.”

Janet Albury, Distribution Committee Member of the Ginn West End Foundation states, “This is a great program for the children of West End and we are delighted to make a contribution to the success of the efforts started by the Royal Bahamas Police Force and the community volunteers.”

A key element of the eco-fishing camp is to make certain the kids are tested about the information provided by the expert presenters and camp instructors. Having a way to measure what the children are learning is an important aspect of the requirements required for the kids to advance to the next level and become future camp leaders.

The West End Eco-Fishing Camp Association in conjunction with the Royal Bahamas Police Force is pleased to offer this unique ecology, fishing, boating and swimming program to members of the West Grand Bahama community. To learn more about the program visit us on FACEBOOK – just enter WEST END ECO FISHING CAMP in the search box.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

U.S. Embassy looking to boost Grand Bahama

Freeport News Reporter
United States Embassy officials are in Grand Bahama this week and say they hope to assess what the island's economic situation is and determine if they can be of assistance.

Spokesperson Jefferson Dubel said it would be in The Bahamas' and the United States' best interest to ensure that the island is thriving.

"We read in the paper that it is not very good - bleak, dire and we wanted to see for ourselves and see if there is anything we can do to help because it's beneficial to both the U.S. and The Bahamas that this is a vibrant place. A lot of Americans come here as tourists. A lot of Americans come here as secondary or tertiary home owners and a lot of Americans come here as business partners," he said.

He pointed out that there was over $14 billion in direct U.S. investment in The Bahamas in 2008 alone.

"That's pretty significant when you look at it. That's in The Bahamas as a whole but I'm sure a large portion of that comes here (Grand Bahama). So we want to make sure that if there's anything we can do to facilitate that, we can."

Dubel said the Embassy is working toward attracting more American businesses to The Bahamas.

"In order to do that we have to know what some of those impediments are and why they aren't doing it and that's what we've been listening to for the last couple of days, business owners themselves talking about what are some of the problems, why they aren't investing here in The Bahamas," he said.

"I'll be honest. There are a couple things that stand out and one is the electricity costs and that is something we're working on. That's probably one of the ambassador's priority issues - alternative energy and I think that would go a long way towards one, reducing the cost and giving you a more stable, clean platform, not only environmentally clean but so that there's less spikes."

He noted that in October, The Bahamas will host the Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum at the Atlantis Resort, which is expected to bring together Americans, Bahamians and representatives from other Caribbean countries to discuss ways to address their energy problems and to look for solutions.

"The most important part about that conference is we're going to bring people that have those technologies readily available today, that you could partner with and maybe move forward on some renewable energies," he said.

The Embassy coordinates several initiatives that are geared toward encouraging business, he added, including hosting entrepreneurial workshops where prominent American businesspersons are brought in to make presentations about doing business and to network with local businesspersons.

"We also have a commercial section that sets up trips to the states for franchise shows and the like. The way that the average Bahamian can learn about that is to go to our website, or sign up for our facebook," he said.

"We're advocating back in the U.S. that this is a good place to do business and one of the ways we do that, is with a guide that tells how to do business. It's a public document so that American businesses can find there, what the regulations are, what some of the difficulties are, some of the ways to overcome those, contacts, and other tips to facilitate businesses."

Economic officer Brooke Moppert explained that the embassy serves as a liaison between American businesses seeking to expand their product into The Bahamas and local businesses.

"If they want our assistance, we provide several services for them including market research, or partner searches. We connect them with Bahamian businessmen and women who would best facilitate their product in this market."

Likewise, the embassy also seeks to lend assistance to local businesses as they consider the option of doing business with American companies.

" If you go on our website, nassau.usembassy.gov and go to the link resources, you''ll find a section of the commercial services that we provide. There will be a lot of helpful information as well as a link to sign up for our quarterly promotional newsletter, which gives opportunities on what we've been doing, opportunities out there and it highlights U.S. Bahamian partnerships every month, real life people that members of the business community can go to, to talk about their experiences in working with U.S. businessowners."

Dubel said it was important for residents of the Family Islands to know that the embassy is not "Nassau centric," but rather is interested in expanding its reach outside of the capital.

"You can pick up the phone at any time, you can call us. Businesses should feel that they could do those kind of things," he said.

According to Dubel, there were several concerns expressed by Grand Bahamians during previous visits by embassy officials, which the embassy has sought to address.

"A lot of the complaints we heard were that the preclearance facility at the airport. There were two checkpoints. Was there anything we could do about that? Last week we were able to remove one of those checkpoints so that should speed up getting people through the airport, make it faster," he said.

"The other one we worked on was preclearance for general aviation aircraft, and Bahamians working with our Department of Homeland Security had moved forward on that. Your Parliament passed the General Aviation Agreement, I think about four months ago, and it's now back in Washington being reviewed. Hopefully we'll move forward on that. It's up to the Bahamian government to decide where they want to put it."

There has been much speculation about whether that facility will be located in Grand Bahama.

Dubel said, he believes it could be a significant asset in helping to increase the volume of traffic to the island.

Another issue that has been raised consistently by residents of Grand Bahama is that of the introduction of a consular service on the island, he added.

"I don't think that's going to happen, because the volume doesn't justify it but it's something we listen to. We do try to make it easy for Grand Bahamians. If they want to, they can do their registration online. You don't have to spend a couple of days in Nassau. You can come do your interview, leave and then we can courier the passport back to you so that will maybe cut down some of the expenses you would have to pay," he explained.

Banking on Tyler Perry's pull

Bank of The Bahamas is tying its "stop dreaming, start driving" campaign to movie mogul Tyler Perry in a marketing thrust aimed at driving women to a car show – giving away four tickets to the official movie premiere of Perry's new movie.

"Bank of The Bahamas is pleased to join with the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, GEMS radio, Colombian Emeralds and others to sponsor the premiere, Why Did I Get Married Too," said Vaughn Delaney, the bank's deputy managing director. "Everything about the movie clicked. Viewing the trailer, which is available online, the scenes of the beach in Eleuthera where most of the film was shot, the waters, the island, the architecture, the idea of vacationing in this slice of paradise, means fantastic exposure for The Bahamas.

"The bank really wants to support that kind of effort. Then there is the cast starting with Tyler Perry who is more than a screen sensation. He's a writer, director and producer of immense talent. Each of the stars, including Cicely Tyson, Louis Gossett, Jr. and Janet Jackson is outstanding. We are honored to be included in such company and to partner with Tourism and GEMS in this event."

Set for March 29 with an appearance by the star as part of its sponsorship, the bank will be awarding the tickets to the Bahamas Motor Dealers Association (BMDA) auto show March 26-27 at the Mall at Marathon. According to Delaney, no purchase is necessary to win the tickets.

"Just stop by the Bank of The Bahamas booth at the auto show and you can enter your name," he said. "Two winners names will be called on Friday and two on Saturday. Each winner will get two tickets."

The movie, Why Did I Get Married Too, is a sequel to the film that was the surprise box office hit of 2007. The sequel, to be released in theatres April 2, follows the lives of the same four couples who reunite on vacation only to find their patience and their marriages tested.

All friends are connected by an author and psychologist (played by Janet Jackson) who can fix everyone else's marital problems but her own. Sponsoring the premiere is part of the bank's growing corporate commitment to community that includes funding for literacy diagnosis and research, youth development, historic Nassau revitalization and numerous events and worthy charitable causes.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Humane Society's Luncheon - Hot, Hot, Hot

The Regency Theatre’s lobby transformed as numerous supporters of the Grand Bahama Humane Society turned out for the annual fundraising luncheon, the first of three events planned to take place during the ‘Weekend that went to the Dogs’.

Freeport, Bahamas – Over 50 Red Hot Mamas enjoyed tasty delicacies during this year’s Humane Society’s fundraiser luncheon in the lobby of the Regency Theatre.

A ladies-only event, the ‘Red Hot Mamas’ luncheon, officially kicked-off the ‘Weekend that went to the Dogs’. Slated for March 19 – 21, the weekend of activities is the Grand Bahama Humane Society’s (GBHS) annual fundraiser.

Along with a savory lunch, Friday’s event included an unlimited wine bar, Chinese raffle, games, prizes, surprises, sexy male serenades and a special appearance by visiting comic, Ricardo Aleman.

“By means of these functions, our intent is to provide some entertainment and a really good time for the many persons who support us, and in return, raise funds for the continued operation of the animal shelter,” said GBHS Executive Director, Elizabeth Burrows.

The brightly decorated lobby of the Regency Theatre came alive with the smooth, sultry sounds of keyboardist Steve Davis, whose melodies even drew some onto the dance floor. The vivacious banter of MC Trevor Russell added to the entertaining atmosphere.
In welcoming the ladies, Ivy Elden, Treasurer (GBHS) personally thanked attendees for their support. “This cause is very dear to all of our hearts especially since animal overpopulation is a real problem on our island. Remember, by your patronage, you are helping those who cannot help themselves,” she stated.
Organizers of the Grand Bahama Humane Society’s (GBHS) annual luncheon beamed at its success. Pictured (left to right): Jill Cooper, GBHS Secretary; Ivy Elden, GBHS Treasurer; Geneva Rutherford, Director of Community Relations-GBPA; and Elizabeth ‘Tip’ Burrows, GBHS Executive Director.

 The weekend of fundraising continues on Saturday March 20 with an ‘Animal House Party’ at the Garden of the Groves. Beginning at 7pm, the garden affair, priced at $50 per person, will feature a live band from Kentucky, USA, silent auction, heavy hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar.

Festivities conclude on Sunday March 21, with a ‘Furry Friends Festival & Dog Show’ at the Humane Society’s shelter on Coral Road. A full slate of activities is planned for the family fun day with food, games, rides and various competitions including ‘Owner & Dog Look-a-Like’ contests, etc.

Colindale Condos - Great value and superb quality.

Once again my favorite Travel go to site www.tripadvisor.com has a glowing review for Grand Bahama.
This time it's a vacation rental. If you're thinking about visiting our island and are considering other options other than a hotel, check out Colindale Apartments...
" We searched high and low for a rental before we settled on Colindale. Internet searches for a place to stay are always a precarious undertaking; however, we were very impressed. What you see online is exactly what you get...quality accommodation for a very reasonable price. We rented a one-bedroom apartment, complete with granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, contemporary furnishings, ceramic tile throughout, and ensuite washer and dryer. The grounds, which are meticulously groomed, are only accessible through a secure gate. There's a lovely small pool in the back, and the property is very private. Cleaning is availalbe for an additional cost--we opted for every other day. Ken, the operator, was very polite and accommodating. If we came back to Freeport, Grand Bahama Island, we would definitely stay at Colindale again."
Read the Full article on Tripadvisor HERE

Eight GB Swimmers make National team

By Andrew Coakley

FN Sports Editor
Of the 32 member national CARIFTA Swim team headed to Jamaica this year, eight of those athletes hail from Grand Bahama.

Of those eight members, six hail from the YMCA Wave Runners and two from the Freeport Aquatics Club.

Aquatics Club swimmers are Delano McIntosh and Kadesha Culmer.

This year's CARIFTA will be held in Jamaica April 3-6.

The Freeport News was able to catch up with coach of the Wave Runners, Iva Dreske-Russell, during a practice session at the YMCA.

Coach Iva said that she's satisfied with the quality of the athletes from Grand Bahama.

Able only to speak mostly about the athletes she coaches, she noted that the team may be small, but is packed with swimmers who will be able to give The Bahamas some medals in the pool.

Of the six swimmers hailing from the Wave Runners, four have CARIFTA experiences and two are really novices making the CARIFTA team for the first time in their short swimming careers.

Evante Gibson (who is presently off in college), Mya Albury, Peter Farquharson and Taran Smith are somewhat the veterans on this year's team, all having competed at the CARIFTA level before.

Newcomers making their CARIFTA debut are Aaron Levarity and Joanna Evans.

"Those two newcomers have proven themselves not just here in Grand Bahama, but on the national scene, they were able to swim their way onto this year's team and that's impressive," said Coach Iva.

"Once September last year rolled around, I saw that these two had what it takes to be competitive and they were able to prove that by swimming the times necessary to get on this year's team."

She feels that this will be a great start to these novices' swimming careers and is confident that The Bahamas will hear more about them in the future.

With this combination of veterans and top-notch novices, coach Iva says she's looking forward to some great performances from these swimmers and an even better performance for the Bahamian team overall.

"I can say that the age group that will be the toughest will be the 13-14 division, because that's always been a tough bracket at the CARIFTA level, but I feel that the Bahamian athletes in that division will have what it takes to fight for medal contention in that division."

One of the impressive things about the swimmers coming from Grand Bahama is the fact that they made this year's team without the opportunity to compete as much as those swimmers in Nassau.

Thanks to the persistence and knowledge of coach Iva and the opportunity to have swimmers travel to the United States and to Cuba to gain experience, GB swimmers were able to qualify with times swum at those international events.

"Here in Freeport, it takes a lot of effort for parents to come up with the money to send their kids to Nassau on a regular basis to compete and qualify, so these swimmers actually made the team having only made about 40 percent of the swim meets available to them," noted Coach Iva.

"So, we have to proud of what these kids have accomplished."

Monday, March 22, 2010

(VIDEO) 'Sand in My Shoes' with author Marina Gottlieb-Sarles

Grand Bahama Island - As Bahamian author Marina Gottlieb Sarles gears up to release her second book; “ The War Horses”, she is simultaneously releasing the second publishing of her first book; “ Sand in My Shoes.”

In this video interview Marina transports us on a journey to the early days of Grand Bahama and Abaco where she was inspired by her experiences in the Bahamas through her parents and the many Bahamians she grew up with, to write her first book, “Sand in My Shoes.”

Marina tells of some of the places that “Sand in My Shoes” has taken her; including The Bahamas National Art Gallery,” where she received warm accolades as she read excerpts of her stories to a mostly black audience. They were amazed at Marina’s ability to speak fluent Bahamian dialect. Marina also passionately expresses her pride to be a part of the Bahamian artistic community that operates free from any form of racial divide.

Be sure to visit: www.sandinmyshoes.net for more information on her book and to order your own copy of “Sand in My Shoes”.

This interview is the first of a two-part series. In part two we discuss Marina's new book,” The War Horses,” a book so powerful that the author of this article got teary eyed whilst conducting the interview.

Blues Hall of Famer, Roxy Perry to perform in Grand Bahama, May 29th

Freeport, Bahamas - New York's Blues Queen and award winning vocalist/ songwriter/ producer, Roxy Perry will be in Grand Bahama to perform in concert on May 29th at Joker's Wild. Perry will be performing original blues, classic blues, swing, jazz and much more.

The event is sponsored by The Bahamas Weekly, Pelican Bay Hotel and Thayers.com Stay tuned for ticket information. Pelican Bay Hotel is offering special rates for persons traveling in for this concert.

Roxy Perry started her professional singing career at age 9. By her teens, she was fronting Rock and Soul bands that appeared in legendary NYC major venues such as The Peppermint Lounge. In her late teens and early 20s, she toured with a chart-topping Rock group Dawn, which appeared in major arenas throughout North America and Canada, and shared the concert bill with Kenny Rogers, The Carpenters, Rare Earth, Gladys Knight & The Pips, Iron Butterfly, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Mike Nesmith, Mark Lindsay and many others.

Throughout her early recording career, Roxy had record deals in several genres which landed on Billboard charts.

Roxy launched her Blues career in the 80s, when she quickly became known for her exciting live performances at clubs, concert halls and festivals throughout the U.S. and abroad. These performances secured her reputation as “the real deal” and “NEW YORK BLUES QUEEN.''

In recent years Roxy has appeared on the concert bill with Rod Piazza, Shamekia Copeland, Leon Russell, Marcia Ball, John Mayall, Saphire, Hubert Sumlin, Gatemouth Brown, Koko Taylor, The Black Crowes, and a host of others.

In 2007, Roxy and her band performed at the renowned Montreux Jazz Festival, where they headlined two stages, including the Lake Geneva Blues Cruise.

As a recording artist, Roxy has performed, produced and written the material for her four highly acclaimed CDs: HI HEEL BLUES (Monad Records), ROXY PERRY, NEW YORK BLUES QUEEN (BluePerry Hill Records), BACK IN BLUESVILLE (BluePerry Hill Records), and her most recent CD, IN MY SWEET TIME (BluePerry Hill Records) (2008). Music from these CDs has been added to classic female Blues artist lists on radio stations throughout the world.


Roxy's music continues to be heard regularly on MUSIC CHOICE, DIRECT TV, CLEAR CHANNEL, XM RADIO and hundreds of radio stations, web and podcasts worldwide.


KCOR www.kconlineradio.com

Learn more at www.RoxyPerry.com

Friday, March 19, 2010

Michael A. Weber appointed new GM at Our Lucaya

By Earnestine Moxyz
Lucaya, Grand Bahama, The Bahamas - Veteran hotelier and seasoned industry professional, Michael Weber has been appointed General Manager for Our Lucaya Beach & Golf Resort in Freeport Grand Bahama.

“We are very excited about Mr. Weber’s appointment and confident that his demonstrated level of success and proven track record in the sales and marketing field, particularly at this crucial time in the tourism industry will no doubt propel the resort forward,” said Raymond Chow, Group Managing Director of Harbour Plaza Hotels & Resorts, which manages the resort.

Mr. Weber has spent more than twenty years in hospitality management serving as General Manager for upscale 4 and 5 star resorts including il Lugano Luxury Suite Hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Coral Hospitality in Islamorada, Florida Keys and Cap Cana Resort Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, where he also received the General Manager of the Year award in 2004/2005.

He is fluent in German and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Hotel & Restaurant Management from the University of Wisconsin Stout and is an international member of SKAL Club.

(VIDEO) Economic Injection as Circus Comes to Town

CIRCUS ANNOUNCEMENT: Press conference participants included (left to right): Rachel Smith, Grand Bahama Red Cross Society member; Mercynth Ferguson, Director, Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce; Derek Newbold, Business Development Manager – GBPA; Cal Dupree, Ringmaster, Big Bumpin Circus; David Wallace, Event Organizer, Soft Touch Productions; Norris Bain, President, Grand Bahama Principal’s Association; and Renaldi Forbes, Chairman, Grand Bahama Red Cross Society.

Freeport, Bahamas – May 5 – 9, the St. George’s High School Gym will be transformed into a ‘Big Top’ as Universoul Circus comes to town. Led by ringmaster, “Casual Cal”, the Bumpin Big Show Circus promises to provide soulful, high quality entertainment for the entire family.

On hand for the announcement was event organizer, David Wallace, Soft Touch Productions, along with circus co-sponsors, the Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited (GBPA), the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce and representatives from beneficiary organizations.

FUN TIME: The upcoming May circus opens with a bang. A black-tie, tuxedo and sneaker gala event planned for the opening evening. As one of the circus co-sponsors, GBPA’s Business Development Manager, Derek Newbold (left) posed along with Cal Dupree, Ringmaster, Big Bumpin Circus (centre) and David Wallace, Event Organizer, Soft Touch Productions.

According to GBPA’s Business Development Manager – Derek Newbold, the highly-anticipated circus has the prospect to impact local businesses. “This project has the capacity to greatly benefit the small business community of Grand Bahama by generating economic activity locally. It will also benefit the tourism sector, giving visitors an opportunity to see this unique type of entertainment right here on Grand Bahama Island. GBPA is pleased to support such projects as we work to better the lives of persons in the Grand Bahama community.”
Wallace expressed similar optimism, citing the possibility of over 100 spin-off jobs being created during the circus’ presence. With its primary target audience in mind, he announced that special arrangements have been made to bus the island’s school students to daily matinees. Additionally, local charities will be given opportunities to raise much-needed funds at each evening performance.

According to ringmaster, “Casual Cal”, the Bumpin Big Show Circus features a host of world class performers from every corner of the globe. Local audiences will be stunned and amazed as performers turn stunts and acrobats into motion accompanied by high-performance music. Also, the group looks forward to expanding to other Bahamian islands and drawing even larger audiences during successive visits to The Bahamas over the next ten years.

The Grand Bahama leg of the circus commences with a “Ringmasters Sneaker Ball”, on Wednesday May 5, the first-night gala event. Each successive day will feature daily matinees and evening shows.

The critically acclaimed Universoul Circus has been thrilling sold-out audiences of all ages and is the first touring African-American owned and operated circus in more than a century. A motorcade featuring some of the circus performers is planned for the end of April to herald their arrival.

Power costs force lay-off of contractors


Tribune Business Reporter

Freeport, Grand Bahama- A MAJOR Grand Bahama industrial business yesterday said it had been forced to lay-off 26 contractors last month to combat escalating power costs, as it is faced with electricity bills amounting to $500,000 per month.

Polymers International faces electricity costs nearly five times' that of its nearest US competitor, its chief operating officer told Tribune Business yesterday, as the Grand Bahama Power Company (GBPC) eagerly explores ways to lower costs to its customers.

Greg Ebelhar said that when his company came to Grand Bahama in the mid-1990s, electricity costs were at a tolerable three times' more than its competitors. However, the power company's inefficiencies are now costing the manufacturer some business.

According to Mr Ebelhar, Polymers was forced to lay-off 26 contractors last month due to mounting electricity costs.

This follows Glass and Fenestration Services' (GFS) Tuesday announcement that it would be pulling out of Grand Bahama because of the high cost of power and poor service reliability of the Grand Bahama Power Company.

Chairman of GFS, Steve Howes, said he had seen critical manufacturing equipment "fried" by surges in the power supply on numerous occasions, to the point of putting his operation out of production for a time last year.

He was asked by the Grand Bahama Power Company to pay a $120,000 bill, but maintains that the company owes him at least $170,000 for equipment damaged by its intermittent power supply.

The island's bowling alley also announced recently that was closing, due in part to exorbitant electricity costs, that ate away at 40 per cent of income, never allowing the entertainment facility to be profitable.

President of the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce, K Peter Turnquest, said it was time for Grand Bahama Power's shareholders to consider the use of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), in order to subdue the pressures of utility costs on business and residential properties alike.

Indeed, Grand Bahama Power's new president and chief executive, Alan Kelley, agrees, telling this newspaper that the company was interested in bringing a natural gas solution to the island.

"We are looking at a number of alternatives to try to bring in some additional power generation resources than the ones we have now," said Mr Kelley.

He added that the company was hoping to have more efficient portable power generators within one year.

However, Mr Kelley said that at the moment, their power costs simply represent that of generation on a small island, with the added costs of fossil fuels.

The company has engaged in studying power production through wind energy, which could be finished its exploration stages by mid-summer.

Mr Turnquest said if Grand Bahama was to truly position itself as a haven for industry, as it has always been touted, the power costs need to be stemmed as soon as possible.

Mr Ebelhar said employees of manufacturers, like his company, are feeling the pinch more as their utility costs continue to increase, while their employers look for ways to cut costs.

"Residential users are employees and they are getting a pinch in their budgets," he said. "Employees want more money to make up for the higher costs of their living."

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Mellors move on to new venture

Taken from Bahamasislandsinfo

In what could be considered a double positive twist in the prolonged controversy over a proposed purse seine tuna fishing and aquaculture venture by two Grand Bahamians, sources have revealed that opponents to that venture can celebrate a victory.

Informed sources close to the situation have revealed to BahamaIslandsInfo.com that the purse seine net itself has been offloaded from the Pelagic I commercial fishing vessel and repacked in a storage container.
Pelagic I is the 100-foot ship owned by brothers David and Paul Mellor and was the central component in their Bahamas Pelagic Fisheries and Aquaculture business. The Mellors mounted an intensive effort to explain to the public that their goals were genuinely intended to create a new industry and opportunity for increased employment.

The Mellors participated in a March 1st town meeting hosted by the Bahamas National Trust at their Rand Nature Centre in Freeport. At that meeting, experts in sportsfishing, scuba diving and science, as well as the Mellors themselves, presented their views on the commercial fishing and aquaculture plans.

Hundreds of local residents turned out, packing the hall, expressing concerns, and challenging the validity and viability of the Mellor's venture. A handful of attendees stated their support of the planned operation, emphasizing the need for increased employment opportunities.

Opposition to the plans were significant, including an online petition, letters sent to the Prime Minister and relevant Government ministers, as well as a Facebook page that has grown to more than 4,000 members from around the world.

Sources told BahamaIslandsInfo.com this week that, not only has the purse seine net been hauled off the ship, but that the Mellors are retrofitting the craft to accommodate large tanks that can store and transport waste oil.
Read the full article HERE

Grand Bahama Port Authority customer relations department marks official opening

QUICK SERVICE - Non-existent lines were the order of the day as a full team of GBPA Customer Relations’ cashiers attended to a steady influx of customers under the direction of Customer Relations Department Manager, Nicole Colebrooke (pictured far left).

 FREEPORT, Bahamas – The fifteen-member Customer Relations Department at the Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited (GBPA) officially welcomed the public to their newly renovated premises on Monday morning. By noon, more than 100 customers were serviced at the upgraded facilities on the ground floor of the GBPA headquarters building.

“We are more than pleased to be able to service our customers in these expanded facilities. We have worked feverishly to convert this area into premises that would comfortably accommodate our customers,” said GBPA Customer Relations Department Manager, Nicole Colebrooke.

“Additionally, as of March 15th, special arrangements were made with the Bank of The Bahamas, so that residents of West Grand Bahama can make utility payments at the bank’s Eight Mile Rock Branch in the Harbour West Shopping Centre,” Colebrooke added.

During the departure of the former tenant, the Grand Bahama Power Company, a GBPA Customer Relations’ cashier occupied temporary space in the downstairs office of the GBPA headquarters building. Now with the relocation completed, a team of GBPA cashiers seamlessly attended to the steady flow of customers paying utility bills.

PAYMENTS ACCEPTED HERE - A satisfied customer makes a payment at the newly upgraded facilities on the ground floor of the GBPA headquarters building.
 The public is also reminded that new customer account numbers were automatically issued for all utility bills. Also, effective March 1st, utility bills changed in color from green to blue and are still issued in the usual format, bearing the new account numbers.

“The public has been extremely patient as we transitioned and we’re very grateful for their continued cooperation,” Colebrooke reflected. “Customers visiting this morning complimented the décor, amenities, and most of all, the superior customer service provided by our staff.”
To mark the official opening, customers received giveaways and complimentary coffee, tea and cookies. Also, customers paying their utility bills in full received special gifts. Many eagerly came in, in response to the live radio broadcast by Mix 102FM, marking the event.
Even though payments for electricity bills are no longer accepted downstairs in ‘The Port’ building, GBPA Customer Relations cashiers accept all other payments including: water, garbage, license fees, service charges, elevator inspection, all Building and Development payments, property rental and all other payments.

Supermodel of the Bahamas Announces 2010 Contestants

The contestants gather outside of Bally Fitness (a sponsor) last weekend during a preliminary event for Supermodel of the Bahamas to be held on May 2nd at the British Colonial Hilton. Contestants are from Grand Bahama, Abaco, Eleuthera and New Providence. Photo: Vaughn Scriven

 Nassau, Bahamas - Twelve young contestants from Eleuthera, Grand Bahama, and Abaco arrived in New Providence on March 13th to join fourteen contestants from Nassau to be presented as those who will be vying for the 2010 Supermodel of the Bahamas title which will be determined on May 2nd at the British Colonial Hilton Grand Ballroom.

"Our launch weekend came off as a great success and I'm looking forward to the float parade and preliminary competition which will take place on April 24 and 25th," said founder of Supermodel of the Bahamas, Mr. OilinSha Coakley.

Some of the younger contestants vying for Little Supermodel of the Bahamas Photo: Vaughn Scriven

The 36 official contestants are Peandra Knowles, Brittney Weech, Angel Rolle, Garrett Bowleg, Daniel Lages, Sonji Simmons, Sinardo Deleveaux, and Shavantai Smith, and Kourtni Pinder of Grand Bahama Island; Christi Cadet of Eleuthera; Priska Pascal and Allita Bain of Abaco; and Miguel Wright, Deandra Smith, Andreanique Johnson, Kieasha Adderley, Travantae’ Russell, Kenresa Pickering, Wayne Mackey, Carnesha Smith, Reashawn Davis, Kourtni Pinder, Keturah Cartwright, Breann Wood, Delvonae Beckles and Gabbriella Moss of New Providence.


In Nassau, the contestants participated in a busy weekend of workshops, photo shoots, video interviews for the upcoming ZNS reality show on the event, and the weekend finale of a launch party where the contestants walked the runway in a fashion show featuring designs from Brynda Knowles of the Fashion Group, Cedric Bernard, Rachel Garcia, Debonaire Boutique and Tuxedo Styles, and ICandy Swimwear.

The event is in its third season and has expanded with a "Little Supermodel of the Bahamas” however there was not enough interest from young male models so this will mean that for this year only a female Little Supermodel award will be presented.

In the older group, Supermodel of Bahamas is the overall title and a male and female winner will be awarded with cash and prizes worth $3000.00, a complete portfolio, representation with OilinSha’s Models, and will have the opportunity to compete in the “Top Model of the Universe” competition in Europe. The overall title winners will be flown to New York and accommodated in the OilinSha’s Models & Talent Agency's apartment.

Last year's winners have been participating in such high profile shows as the New York Fashion Week, Islands of the World Fashion Week, and others.

The competition continues on Saturday, April 24th when all the contestants will once again be back in Nassau for a Float Parade and the Preliminary Competition on Sunday, April 25th at the British Colonial Hilton.

Supermodel of the Bahamas wishes to thank The Bahamas Weekly, Bally Total Fitness, Lyndah Wells Photography, Wyndham Nassau Resort, British Colonial Hotel, Vaughn Scriven Photography, the International Bazaar, Basheva Eve, the Abaco Beach Resort, Quality Inn Cigatoo, Bahamas Air, Fashionista, Pinkk Suga Kreations, Pulse Models Jamaica, Deco Bay, Freeport Jewellers, Jubilee Bath & Body, Holis Cosmetics, Brynda Knowles of the Fashion Group, Cedric Bernard, Rachel Garcia, Debonaire Boutique and Tuxedo Styles and ICANDY Swimwear.

Photos seen here by Vaughn Scriven Photography.


Galleria Cinemas to Introduce 3-D

By Diane Phillips & Associates
Nassau, Bahamas - Dragons will lunge faster, cats pounce larger and romance burn brighter when a local chain of theatres introduces 3-D cinema in the coming weeks.

Chris Mortimer, president of Galleria Cinemas Ltd., announced today that four theatres – two screens at Galleria at the Mall at Marathon, one at JFK Galleria on Thompson Boulevard and one theatre at Galleria in Freeport, Grand Bahama – are completing conversion to 3-D capability. Mall at Marathon theatres with some 520 seats in total will come on stream first with the new Dreamworks film How to Train Your Dragon, scheduled to air starting March 26. Conversion at JFK and Freeport is scheduled to be completed with 3-D screens opening April 2.

“3-D was introduced in the 1950s, but languished for decades because there were so few films in that format that it was hard to justify the expense of investing in theatre capability,” said Mortimer. “Now, all of a sudden, there is an explosion of material, 14 3-D films by the end of this year and between 15 and 20 scheduled for release during 2011.”

The 3-D phenomenon got a massive boost with the Christmas release of Avatar, the adventure film based on a fantasy creature with a gentle soul who inhabits a distant planet. The action-packed movie broke all opening weekend box office records, earning $467 million worldwide in the first two weeks and continuing to break records, generating sales of accessories, clothing and DVDs even while the movie is burning up screens.

Avatar’s dramatic and unexpected impact on the industry along with developments in technology and an ever-increasing appetite for family-friendly fantasy-action films spawned the sudden spurt of 3-D films. Now the local theatre that opened its doors in November 1999 is on track with counterparts in the U.S. where the explosion in 3-D is making fast tracks with an expected tenfold increase in theatres with 3-D capability from 427 today to more than 5,000 by the end of next year.

Dragons will lunge faster, cats pounce larger and romance burn brighter when a local chain of theatres introduces 3-D cinema in the coming weeks.

Chris Mortimer, president of Galleria Cinemas Ltd., announced today that four theatres – two screens at Galleria at the Mall at Marathon, one at JFK Galleria on Thompson Boulevard and one theatre at Galleria in Freeport, Grand Bahama – are completing conversion to 3-D capability. Mall at Marathon theatres with some 520 seats in total will come on stream first with the new Dreamworks film How to Train Your Dragon, scheduled to air starting March 26. Conversion at JFK and Freeport is scheduled to be completed with 3-D screens opening April 2.

“3-D was introduced in the 1950s, but languished for decades because there were so few films in that format that it was hard to justify the expense of investing in theatre capability,” said Mortimer. “Now, all of a sudden, there is an explosion of material, 14 3-D films by the end of this year and between 15 and 20 scheduled for release during 2011.”

The 3-D phenomenon got a massive boost with the Christmas release of Avatar, the adventure film based on a fantasy creature with a gentle soul who inhabits a distant planet. The action-packed movie broke all opening weekend box office records, earning $467 million worldwide in the first two weeks and continuing to break records, generating sales of accessories, clothing and DVDs even while the movie is burning up screens.

Avatar’s dramatic and unexpected impact on the industry along with developments in technology and an ever-increasing appetite for family-friendly fantasy-action films spawned the sudden spurt of 3-D films. Now the local theatre that opened its doors in November 1999 is on track with counterparts in the U.S. where the explosion in 3-D is making fast tracks with an expected tenfold increase in theatres with 3-D capability from 427 today to more than 5,000 by the end of next year.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Garden of the Groves "Art inspired by Nature" Workshop - Public Show on Sunday

Freeport, Grand Bahama - Over the past five Saturdays art students were inspired by the beautiful scenery at Garden of the Groves while their instructor, Angelika Siska, lectured and advised them how to use their paint brushes with acrylics on canvas to create their own master pieces in nature.

Angelika is a long-time resident of Grand Bahama and a well known artist in Germany and the United States where she has exhibited in art shows. Titles of her recent exhibitions in Germany and Kentucky have been "Butterflies, Blossoms and Landscapes" and local art students are very fortunate to be given the opportunity to share in Angelika's expertise. This is the second year that Angelika has given of her time and talent to conduct an art workshop at the Garden for art and nature enthusiasts.

There will be a public showing of the results of this workshop on Sunday, March 21st, at 5:00pm, in the chapel at the Garden of the Groves.

For more information, please call 242- 374-7778.

Visit our Website: www.TheGardenoftheGroves.com

(VIDEO) Ray Ellin Live at NYC Comedy Club Bahamas

Freeport, Grand Bahama Island – The 2nd Annual NYC Comedy Club event put on by The Grand Bahama Performing Arts Society commenced Friday March 12th 2010 at The Treasure Bay Casino to a standing room only crowd.

Midway through the show comedian Ray Ellin came on stage to do his routine, it was at this point during the evening that uncontrollable bouts of spontaneous laughter erupted far beyond even what Ray anticipated as he proceeded to concoct an impromptu routine that featured the duo of twin brothers who are, amongst other things, the principals behind the proposed Yellowfin Tuna Net Fishing venture on Grand Bahama Island (The Bahamas Pelagic Aquaculture Tuna Fishing Program).

Unbeknownst to Ray, he haphazardly connected with the audience with irony and humor that resounded across the length and breadth of this island and beyond. In his routine, Ray probed the twin brothers with questions like: What kind of work do you do? Are you some kind of mobsters? On and on he went amidst uncontrollable laughter so unfathomable to him that he finally bellowed: WILL SOME ONE TELL ME WHAT’S GOING ON?

Admittedly, this video has been one of the most requested of our almost 300 on-line video productions library; we are pleased to finally have it edited and ready for your entertainment. Enjoy!

For more info on the NYC Comedy club event and The Grand Bahama Performing Arts Society Click HERE .

Get Ready for Naturally 7 coming to Grand Bahama Island in concert May 1st 2010!

About Ray:

Ray Ellin has been honoured as one of the “Ten Standout Stand-Ups Worth Watching” by Back Stage magazine

"I had a blast doing the shows in Grand Bahama, and best of all it was for a great cause. The crowds were fun and smart and enthusiastic. And of course I had a pretty interesting experience during Friday night's show (laughs). Everyone was friendly and our hotel was terrific. I loved swimming with the dolphins and para-sailing; and the food was even better than I thought it would be. I can't wait to go back to Freeport for more shows and fun!" said Ellin.

Persons wishing to keep up with Ellin can go to his website or watch the critically acclaimed comedy variety show 'LateNet with Ray Ellin' on DailyComedy.com.

The Travel Deal Too Good But True!!

Buy Three & Cruise Free to Grand Bahama

FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla., March 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Book a 3-night stay at Our Lucaya Beach & Golf Resort on Grand Bahama Island for only $199 per person, double occupancy, and get a Free round trip cruise on Discovery Cruise Line's new all-inclusive cruise from Ft. Lauderdale. There are no additional fees, taxes or add-ons. This beautiful ocean front resort is located on miles of beaches and has every resort amenity you can imagine.
From golf, water sports, multiple pools, exercise facility, spa, fitness center, a large selection of indoor and outdoor dining venues, a casino and more. Our Lucaya is within walking distance to enjoy all the favorite tourist spots located in Port Lucaya Marketplace, home to one of the most important dive operators in the Caribbean, Unexso.

And, with this incredible price there's even more: a roundtrip all-inclusive cruise from Discovery Cruise Line. The ship's departure time is 10 AM and it arrives in Grand Bahama at 2 PM. During the cruise, passengers will enjoy an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet, all beverages, multiple sun decks with entertainment and games, the new club lounge with V-Jay, a Wii® room with games, a kids club, and other activities, movies and more. A Las Vegas-style casino is also available. Discovery provides a vacation experience the moment you board – start your day with a glass of complimentary bubbly and simply enjoy the view.

Interested in bringing the kids? Kids under two sail and stay free, and kids under 12 sail and stay for only $85, when accompanied by a full fare paying adult. Our Lucaya Reef Village has plenty to do for kids of all ages including Camp Lucaya, designed just for kids.

Grand Bahama Island is a unique combination of local Bahamian culture and modern conveniences. You can enjoy golf, dive, fish, visit numerous tourist attractions and nature experiences, such as exploring caves, natural gardens and kayaking through untouched mangroves and crystal clear waters.

In order to take advantage of this incredible travel package you must book by June 30, 2010 and travel between April 1 and September 1, 2010. For more information call 1-888-377-2784. Certain restrictions apply. Ship's registry Bahamas.

SOURCE Discovery Cruise Line

Monday, March 15, 2010

Cartwright: Cabinet meeting for Mellor brothers unlikely

By Jimenita Swain ~ Guardian Senior Reporter

Agriculture and Marine Resources Minister Larry Cartwright has confirmed that it is unlikely two Grand Bahamian businessmen will get a meeting with Cabinet for a final pitch of their aquaculture project, which involves purse seine or net fishing.

The minister, who spoke to The Nassau Guardian in a recent interview, sought to clarify some issues raised by brothers Paul and David Mellor, who are claiming the government flip-flopped on the purse seining issue.

David and Paul Mellor are seeking approval for their net fishing operation and according to them, they were told last April that the practice is legal.

"The matter of controversy right now is not the aquaculture project. The matter is purse seine fishing for tuna," said Cartwright.

He admitted that there "was no legal impediment at that time, but pointed out that government has a right to change the laws whenever they see fit. And government has now decided to change the laws."

He added: "The plans that they submitted to us at that time was to start an aquaculture project in The Bahamas to rear tuna, blue fin and yellow fin tuna in a cage. They were advised to apply to Lands and Surveys for a lease of the seabed. If they had foreign input they were advised to make application to the investment board," said Cartwright.

The minister said he was told by the Mellors in a recent meeting that they had met with officials from those agencies.

"But the matter of buying a purse seining ship was never discussed in my office. I got an e-mail from (one of the Mellor brothers) sometime later in the year in 2009, indicating that he was in Italy to purchase a vessel. I learned later that it was a purse seining vessel with a net - a huge net," he said.

Minister Cartwright said even though less than a year ago the practice of net fishing was not illegal, an amendment will be made to the fisheries laws to outlaw the practice.

Government's position on the issue followed strong objections from environmental advocates and others who said the practice would cause untold destruction to marine life.

The ministry said in a recent statement that the method of fishing could result in the possible depletion or significant reduction of the fishing stocks in Bahamian waters.

"Having regard to the importance of sport fishing to the tourism industry, the government takes the position that purse seine or net fishing will not be permitted in The Bahamas," the ministry said.

"We were then and we are now supportive of a aquaculture projects in The Bahamas and that's what we are supportive of. We were never supportive of purse seining because that matter never arose. Our support was of aquaculture projects in The Bahamas and the proposal that we received was based on aquaculture. The building of cages, the leasing of the seabed and aquaculture," he stressed.

Paul Mellor told The Guardian that, "It looks like the minister has stuck to his guns. We're still conferring with him and trying to get some more explanations in regards to why he won't consider some sort of middle-of-the-road decision."

Mellor is hoping for answers on if a new law will be created that stops them from fishing, how long will it take to be implemented and what research has been done to base a decision on making purse seining or net fishing illegal.

He said he and his brother David Mellor have been granted fishing licenses, but have not begun any type of fishing.

"We are kind of waiting to see what happens next," he said.

They said they have invested about $2 million in the project.

Fenestration and Glass Company Letter to the People of Grand Bahama

Dear People of Grand Bahama,

I am righting this letter to inform you what is really going on and what the future may be for this Island.

Three years ago my partners and I decided to invest In the Grand Bahamas. After getting the necessary permits and license's, no easy feat in itself, we purchased property on Queens Highway and started building the production factory. This factory builds hurricane protective windows, security glass and decorative glass for doors. During the construction of this large factory we realized just how much we liked Grand Bahama and its people. We had plans to also build a rubber gasket factory in China but decided to put it into our plans here for Grand Bahama instead. Our business plan and potential work force was multiplied ten fold, potentially bringing more than three hundred jobs locally, giving Grand Bahama a huge economic boost it so desperately needed.

Since then, plans to build a factory in joint venture with a German company to manufacture solar panels are in place, we already have the Port Authority license and the land picked out. Potentially another hundred jobs in construction and two hundred factory production jobs. Our German joint partners are here next month.

Three years later, two factories are now in production and growing larger every week. The window factory has started exporting finished goods and companies here no longer have to import hurricane products. They are made on this island by local people for local people.

Our rubber factory has five production lines installed, two are in production now running twenty four hours a day for three days a week and eight hours on the fourth day. We are adding new people almost every week(24 just this last month) giving them training in careers never before seen in the Bahamas. The sales of our products are growing worldwide even in this bad economy. That is due to the wonderful quality of our product made by our local people and the good sales force we have built across the world. In the last few months we have grown our production from thirty five thousand feet a week to over two hundred thousand feet per week, a fantastic achievement by our personnel. We have had visits from perspective customers from Germany, Switzerland, UK, Canada, USA and other countries who want to buy our products giving us a real future as a large international manufacturing company.

Unfortunately with GREAT REGRET I have to inform the people of Grand Bahamas that future is not going to be here due to The Grand Bahama Power Company.

Ever since we started to build our factories and then opening and running of our business on this island we have been tricked, lied to, overcharged and had our equipment destroyed over and over again to the point of having to run on our own generator to power our factories. The Grand Bahama Power Company in our opinion runs this Island without any control by the government or the Port Authority. It acts like gangsters to any body who stands up to their intimidation and bullying. They say we owe them One hundred and twenty thousand dollars when in fact they owe us more than one hundred and seventy thousand dollars but of course they deny that (although we have Proof) and say they are not responsible for anything or the damage that they do. They even had the nerve to charge us thirty thousand dollars as a connection charge on top of a deposit.

Do you remember the recent town hall meetings for all of the people so fed up by their antics? They hired a public relations company just to appease the public and tell them what they wanted to hear. Nothing has changed. They still turn off the Power of the old, sick and families with babies without notice who can not pay the excessive overcharging. It's easy to see how they care about the people in West End now making them come downtown to pay their power bills. For over ten years they have promised alternative energy. They still are promising. If they can't do the job they should go, right?

MR. ADAMS... one of their lawyers has sent us a threatening letter and a cease and desist demand stating that we can not run our own generator to power our factories and yet they (the power company) can't supply us the power we need without spiking our equipment and stopping our production. Every time we have spiking and outages (almost a daily occurrence) it costs us thousands of dollars just to re-start up our lines and pay for the lost product. They charge six times the price of power in North Carolina, 5.8 cents per kwh, (where we are moving to) and three times the price its costing us to run our own generators. They are in absolute panic that other commercial customers will find out the real cost of running their own power and to not have regular outages and damages.

To stay here we would have to fight the Power Company in the High Courts, spending millions in lawyer fees. We have already spent in excess of twenty million dollars building the two new factories on Queens Hwy, buying and setting up the equipment and training our employees. We are tired of fighting to bring business and prosperity to this Island. We have decided it will be better to leave than to give Mr Adams, the attorney, millions more in fees or to bow down to the gangsters at the Grand Bahama Power Company who in our opinion really run this island and have its future in its hands. In all my business life, with operations in the UK, USA and China we have been successful and grown our companies, but for the first time I have given up. I've never had to fight to bring jobs anywhere before. It's so sad and a huge blow to this Island and its future.

In the Bahamas, you the people should have the power, not the Power Company. You have the most power in the world. It's called the VOTE. If you think you and your children's future are important, ask your MP what he or she is going to do about creating real jobs for your future, especially as the island has just lost many more good paying jobs we created, due to the Power Company and it's Lawyer's short sightedness. There certainly are not tourists lining up to create jobs... and although very welcome, beer sales from spring break students hardly sustain this downturned economy for long.

We are going to keep a small satellite window factory on the island as it would not use hardly any electricity using only saws and hand drills and only in production during the day. That way the Grand Bahama Power Company will be very happy, Mr Adams can tell his client he won and the only losers are my company and of course the people of Grand Bahama who lose more than five hundred jobs.

My heart aches as I am forced to make this decision.

With great sadness.

Steve Howes

Fenestration And Glass

Freeport, Grand Bahama

About Fenestration & Glass Services: Fenestration and Glass Services Ltd (FGS) is a worldwide supplier of window products manufactured in Freeport on Queens Highway. Their all-Bahamian worker force creates the finest quality economical windows with the highest design rating, resulting in excellence performance of the window against storms or other forms of impact.FGS windows are constructed with a patented hurricane impact glass as a standard offering and they offer an upgrade of thermo-insulated glass to help homeowners combat lost heating and cooling.